Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fale Portuguese? Language School Training

I have been taking language training at a school called 'CEL-LEP' - (I don't know what the initials stand for!) which has been around for 35 years in Brazil. Their primary focus is teaching English as a second language, but they also provide individualized Portuguese lessons. Here are pictures of my school (don't you love the "English" phone booth?), my teacher Regina and me, and the lab area, where I go and listen to Portuguese tapes after each lesson. Hopefully soon I will be 'falando portuguese muito bem'!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Vila Andrade - A Place of Hope

The Vila Andrade Ministry site has changed a lot since my last visit in 2003 with a short-term team from my home church. At that time, Pastor Marcelo was in the planning stages of starting community service projects, as well as grow the Vila Andrade church itself. Our short-term team was able to do some painting and build a stage for worship services, which is still in use today, only now it has moved to the lower level of the building.
Pastor Marcelo was able to rent (not buy yet as he had hoped) the space previously occupied by an auto mechanic, and has turned it into a nice worship area. The upstairs is being renovated, with help from the city, to house a library, computers, and other classrooms for community learning, as well as renovated bathrooms, an office, and even an elevator!

Next door is a space being rented from 'Habib's' - which is actually a hamburger chain here, where the Sunday School classes are held. Another few doors down is where the Community Social Assistance program is held. During the weekday's, 60 children come either in the morning or afternoon for a meal, devotional and then spend time in a classroom setting, to supplement what they are learning in school. This also keeps them off the streets during non-school hours. On Tuesday's and Thursday's, a group of children go up to the Morumbi church, where they are a part of a band, orchestra, or singing group.
While children are a big part of the community service project, the adults are getting assistance as well. A number of women come and take part in jewelry making, which will be sold later on, and a new program started training women on hair cutting and doing manicures. It was only a test program, but was so successful, they are going to run it again. Women now can have their own little business in their homes cutting hair.

If you have one of my bookmarks, you might recognize these two boys from the back!

Henrique and Leo

Thursday, November 8, 2007

First Days

Arriving in Sao Paulo!

I arrived with fellow missionaries Lalia and Curt Kregness on Wednesday, October 24, and had no problems with luggage or immigration - Praise the Lord!

Getting settled

I have been blessed to have temporary housing in the home of fellow WorldVenture missionaries the Shedd's. They have been in Brazil since 1962 and started the Vida Nova publishing house. They are currently in the US saying good-bye to supporters as they will be retiring from the mission when they return in March 2008. Their daughter Helen and family live in a home behind their's with three small children, so I have had company and help getting assimilated to Brazilian life (as well as portuguese lessons from the kids!)

door to my house, back of house,
and inside house

First steps

First things first, and that was a required registration with the Federal Police, which gave me a temporary resident number, so I am legitimate to be here! Then it was visiting and selecting a Language school, and I had my first lesson November 7. The lessons have one hour with an instructor and one hour of lab. Of course being in the midst of Portuguese speakers is the best kind of lesson! And with a little help, I have taken both the train and bus to reach places. Next will be traveling alone!


I have visited the Morumbi Baptist church, which is the 'mother' church to the Vila Andrade church in the favela, where I have visited on a Sunday evening. I've also attended an International/English speaking church where some fellow missionaries attend.

Mission opportunities

I've had an initial meeting with Pastor Marcelo at the Vila Andrade church to see how I can best serve there. Will be visiting the orphanage on Monday, November 12th. Check back to see more updates on these areas.


It is spring here, and with that comes crazy weather! It was actually cool when I first arrived, but then temps went up close to 90. Most days it is sunny in the morning, followed by afternoon rain showers. If it rains too much, the roads get rather hazardous, so its best not to be in a low area! Always good to be prepared for any type of weather (with the exception of snow!)

Noises in the Night
One of the first things I had to get used to was the sound of dogs barking at all hours of the day and night. Brazilians have many dogs used to protect property, and when one starts barking, chances are another will join in, and soon it becomes a cacophony of sound. Sometimes it even sounds rather humorous, with the standard woof, the howl, and the yip-yip, except if it's 2:00 in the morning! Another sound in the night was a whistle which I couldn't figure out what it was for. Come to find out, it is a paid security guard who walks through the neighborhood, and will blow a whistle when passing by your home! There are also many vendors who drive up and down the street blaring their goods over a speaker and playing music along with it. Helicopters are also a common sound, as Sao Paulo has one of the largest helicopter fleets in the world. Many of the wealthier 'paulistas' will fly in a helicopter over the city to their destination and land on top of one of the hundreds of skycrapers here rather than drive through traffic. The sound of fireworks is common too, especially when the Sao Paulo futebol (soccer) team has won!
One final creepy thing in the night is the roach (barata). I have loaded up on bug spray and spray through the house each night, which seems to keep them away!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Getting ready to go to Brazil

Visa Approved!

My Visa for Brazil was approved in early September, and set in motion a fast-paced series of events to get me to my destination. First was moving out of my townhome so it could be leased (which happened the Day I left for Brazil!) Many helping hands made this day go smoothly!

Commissioning Service

On Sunday, October 21, I had the privilege of giving the Children's Sermon at my home church (on being M&M kids - Missions Minded Kids!) and then having the children 'lay hands/hug/squish' me for prayer! It was a very special send-off!

After the service a special dinner with family and friends . . .

Off to the Airport
Then it was time to get packed . . .

What?! You're leaving me? Not if I can help it . . ..

Good-Byes at the Airport

My brother Brett, sister-in-law Noel, and their children: Gabe, Anna, and Ethan, and my friend Kim.

Right: My mom & me

Finally, BRAZIL!